This week has brought some light snowfall to the Alps and heavier dumps in the Pyrenees. The recent drop in temperatures across Europe has also enabled snow machines to work around the clock. As a result, this weekend brings the biggest number of ski openings so far.

See our latest pics: Gallery: Open Ski Resorts Dec. 13, 2014


There’s been some snowfall in the French Alps this week: 55cm for Les Menuires, 15cm for Val Thorens and Avoriaz, 13cm for Courchevel, 11cm for Tignes, 10cm for Flaine, 5cm for Morzine and La Clusaz, and 3cm for Meribel and Alpe d’huez. The greatest snow depths are Val Cenis (150cm), Isola 2000 (120cm) and Val Thorens (90cm).

Thanks to the recent snowfall and snow machines, we’re seeing a lot more French ski openings as well as the expansion of already-open terrain.

New ski openings this weekend include Avoriaz, Courchevel, Chamrousse, La Plagne, Les Arcs, Les Menuires, Meribel, Val Frejus, Valloire, Villard de Lans, Auron, Orcieres, Montgenevre, Risoul, Serre Chevalier and Vars.

Already open ski resorts have been able to expand their skiable terrain this week: high-altitude Val Thorens (50-90cm) is now operating almost all its lifts with 26/28 running;  Alpe d’Huez (10-75cm) is hoping to open 16 new lifts from tomorrow:  Tignes (5-50cm) is increasing its open lifts to 15 from tomorrow with more than 20 open pistes; Val d’Isere (0-30cm) is already 25% open and the top of the Bellevarde sector will open from tomorrow; Isola 2000 (47-120cm) currently has 11/19 lifts open and plans to open a further five this weekend.

Postponed ski openings include Chamonix, Chatel, Flaine, La Clusaz, La Rosiere, Les Gets, Les Houches, Megeve, Morzine, St. Foy Tarentaise, Valmorel, Les Orres, Praloup, Puy St. Vincent, Sauze Super Sauze, Val d’Allos, Valberg

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We’ve seen some moderate snow dumps in Italy this week: 36cm for Pitztaler glacier, 25cm for Madonna di Campiglio, 20cm for Obereggen and Andalo, 10cm for Cortina d’Ampezzo, and 5cm for Val Gardena. The Italian glaciers have more than three metres of snow – the highest in the Alps – and by far the best skiing in the country: Presena Adamello Ski (350cm) and Passo Tonale (350cm).

Open ski resorts include Cervinia-Breuil (30-215cm), Champoluc-Monterosa Ski (0-130cm), La Thuile, Bardonecchia (0-120cm), Sauze d’Oulx (0-80cm), Sestriere (0-80cm), Bomio (0-100cm), Livigno (22-125cm), Cortina d’Ampezzo (5-120cm), Madonna di Campiglio (12-115cm) and Alta Badia (5-25cm).

Courmayeur and Claviere have delayed their openings.

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Austrian resorts have seen a smattering of snow earlier this week: 27cm for Kaunertal glacier, 20cm for Mayrhofen, 18cm for Lech Zuers, 15cm for Solden and Ischgl, and 10cm for Kitzbuehel. The greatest snow depths are still the Mölltal glacier (250cm) and the Hintertux glacier (195cm). 

Many Austrian ski resorts are kicking off their ski seasons this week (at least with partial openings), including Lech-Zuers, Saalbach-Hinterglemm, St. Anton am Arlberg, the Zillertal Arena,  Serfaus-Fiss-Ladis, Silvretta Montafon, Obertauern, Zauchensee, Planai Hochwurzen and Kleinwalsertal-Oberstdorf. Wilder Kaiser-Brixental opens tomorrow, starting with Ellmau and Scheffau, followed by more lifts/slopes on Dec. 19.

Some of the best skiing in Austria right now can be found in Ischgl (10-40cm) with 29/45 lifts running and Obergurgl-Hochgurgl (10-95cm) with 20/23 lifts open.

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Conditions in Andorra are very good following the heavy snowfalls this week: 37cm for Grandvalira; 33cm for Vallnord/Arcalis and 23cm for Vallnord/Pal-Arinsal.  

The best skiing can be found in Grandvalira (20-90cm) with 53/66 lifts open. Vallnord/Arcalis (45-85cm) also has good conditions with 10/15 lifts open. Andorra’s last resort to open, Pal/Arinsal (20-50cm), kicks off the season today with 18/24 lifts.

Substantial early snowfalls have also been recorded in the open Spanish ski resorts of Cerler (20-180cm), Valter 2000 (15-110cm) and Sierra Nevada (20-80cm).


Some light snowfall in Switzerland this week: 15cm for Adelboden and Wengen, 10cm for Crans Montana, and 3cm for Engelberg and Saas Fee. The greatest snow depths are still at Andermatt-Sedrun (290cm) and Saas Fee (210cm).

Ski resorts opening this week include Jungfrau Ski region (Grindelwald, Wengen, Murren, Interlaken), Crans Montana, Adelboden and Arosa Lenzerheide.

Some of the best skiing in Switzerland right now can be found in Davos Klosters (4-68cm) with 22/56 lifts open, Engadin St. Moritz (0-91cm) with 20/56 lifts open, St. Moritz-Corviglia (0-91cm) with 13/24 lifts, and Zermatt (0-80cm) with 20/54 lifts.

See all open resorts in Switzerland


Bulgaria’s only open resort of Bansko (0-40cm) received some heavy snow earlier this week, so conditions are good on its two open runs, with more terrain expected to open soon.


Snowstorms have swept across the Scottish Highlands this week, carried by winds of more than 100mph. Glencoe and Nevis Range have had the heaviest snow dumps. The Lecht and Cairngorm are hoping to open tomorrow, if access roads are cleared in time.

See our latest pics: Gallery: Open Ski Resorts Dec. 13, 2014